The group “Winning for Missouri Education” has collected over 300,000 signatures in hopes of putting an initiative to legalize sports betting on the ballot. The campaign was launched after the legislature repeatedly failed to legalize sports betting.

“The tremendous support we’ve seen throughout the state is a testament to Missourians’ readiness to bring sports betting revenue home and support our local schools, students and teachers in the process,” said Winning for Missouri Education spokesperson Jack Cardetti. “As the campaign approaches our goal of putting this on the November ballot, Missouri is a step closer to allowing Missouri adults to bet on sports, while generating tens of millions in annual funding for our classrooms.”

Winning for Missouri Education is a coalition led by Missouri’s six professional sports franchises.

The group plans to collect another 25,000 signatures by the May 5th deadline, all of which have to be verified. State law requires 180,000 valid signatures for a ballot initiative to be approved.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, has been the legislative roadblock in recent years.

“I’m not against putting that question on the ballot, but I’ve consistently said that the ballot language that they are using, I don’t believe best serves the people of Missouri,” Hoskins said. “Number one, the tax rate is very low. The fees are very low. There’s not enough money in there for problem compulsive gambling, which is going to be caused by legalization of sports betting here in the state.”

Hoskins called it a “golden ticket” for Missouri’s casinos and professional sports teams.

“The casinos, I’ve seen, would net an increase of $25 million a piece,” he said. “Let me say that again, if sports betting passes in the state of Missouri, casinos will net another $25 million in net profit going to their bottom line. So, I want to make sure that Missourians are protected.”

He said the reason for being the perennial roadblock is due to him wanting sports gambling to be legalized along with video lottery terminals.

“I think, yes, a legislative plan would be better, but we’ve gone down that road and, unfortunately, the casinos kill any sort of compromise that we try and come up with.”

He explained that a combined bill could bring in $30 million toward Missouri veterans’ homes and cemeteries and an additional $250 million toward schools in the state.

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